The text of the Capitol v. Naxos opinion was sent to me by Sam
Brylawski, and it's a very interesting read. While it's direct impact
appears to be narrowly specific to pre-1953 EMI (recorded in Europe)
recordings (they're PD even in US), I wonder if broader conclusions can
be drawn from it, particularly from the concept of "abandonment" of a
Judge Robert W. Sweet declared in his summary judgement that
Capitol did not own the rights to the EMI recordings it claimed. This
was for at least three reasons. First and biggest, EMI was found to have
waived their copyright claim to pre-1957 EMI recordings. Second, EMI of
England only transferred it's rights to its recordings to Capitol (US)
in 1996, after everything from 1946 and earlier had gone into the public
domain in England. Third, Capitol had abandoned these copyrights anyway
by allowing others to "bootleg" their recordings without taking action.
So what defines "abandonment" of a copyright? How many years, how
many "bootleg" copies? That's the biggest question for me and others, no
The restoration question only comes into play with the understanding
that Capitol had no rights to the original recording and that Capitol
and Naxos were competing fairly with dueling restorations.
Capitol had 20 days from May 6, 2003 to submit more factual
information to the judge. Does anyone know if they did?